Our culture’s big on celebrating success. Winners: whether in sports or business or on TV. We love an underdog – but only when they triumph. People who Overcome: be it on X-factor (‘my hamster’s struggling with hair loss… so this one’s for him’) or women’s magazines (‘hubby dumped me for a younger model but I won the lottery and got a boob job so who’s laughing now?’)
Problem is, most of us aren’t winners. We’re contestants who come second, third, seventh…and the ones who don’t even qualify.
Many of us have sicknesses we don’t ‘overcome’. Heartbreak or sadness that leaves us broken, sometimes permanently. Mistakes we can’t airbrush or make right.
Even ‘winners’ aren’t winners. For one moment – on the podium or clinching the deal or whooping over exam or test results , they’ve got it all. But life doesn’t stop there. In an interview recently, Cindy Crawford said, ‘Even I don’t wake up looking like Cindy Crawford: I have to work at it’. After the photoshoots, life goes on. The euphoria of triumph is as transitory as the fans. Right now I’m on top of the world. But ask me next week, next month or next year. How long does your glory last: and was it even there to start with?
It’s not that life is meaningless – or having goals is futile. But what exactly are we aiming for? Perhaps what’s worthy and beautiful is not winning, but having the guts to take part. It’s brave to try. Striving – not knowing if we succeed. The real wrestling is not necessarily before a baying crowd, but alone in the dark. Having the courage to just keep going, even when we don’t feel it. Trusting the Lord, even though we don’t always see Him.